Whether you understand what they are or not, user interfaces are everywhere. Boiled down to the simplest explanation, user interfaces are the ways and means in which computer systems interact with their users.
Much like the receptionist at a hotel, the user interface is the first thing that the user sees when they use their device. This means that the interface must be at least these three things: Easy to communicate with, fast and reliable, and finally, it’s got to be nice to look at.
These are just the very basic requirements of a user interface. If you want to make your interface as successful as it can be, then ideally you would make sure that those three things are just the beginning:
A successful user interface should be:
No matter how many updates the software must go through, the familiarity users must have with a product isn’t lost. IOS updates are a prime example of this, although Apple is generous with their updates the initial familiarity that users found with their first Apple product are there in their latest generation as well.
Be careful not to confuse familiarity with becoming stale. It is important to keep updating user interfaces to keep up with the technology behind them, but it is also important not to make enormous leaps between updates and confuse your users. Consistency is key.
Just like businesses use BPM tools to clear the clutter out of their productivity, user interfaces need to declutter to make sure they are streamlined for maximum user productivity. Clarity is vital for interface design; you will find that the attention span of a user is much shorter than you expect, and if they are unable to navigate their way around your system, they will dismiss it instantly.
Alongside clarity is the element of attractiveness. Now attractiveness doesn’t always imply simplicity when it comes to design; however, complicated designs can be seen as messy or overbearing. Just make sure that you road test your designs on as many other people as well as yourself. Consider constructive criticism and remember that what you find attractive in design might not appeal to the wider audience.
There is no point in having the most beautiful interface if the software behind it is in a constant state of lagging. Not even the most aesthetically pleasing interface will hold a user’s attention long enough to cover for slow-moving software. Many users will take the opportunity of slow-moving software to over click on buttons to make sure that the computer is doing what they have told it to. To avoid this, it is important to make sure the interface is communicating with the user. Whether that is a spinning color wheel or a turning egg timer, make sure that the user knows that the software is working on it, and they don’t need to keep wildly clicking.
These are some ways you can create a successful user interface for a product, but you may find that heightening one element of the interface quashes another, it’s all about balance and keeping your user in mind.